Are you trying to figure out a stay at home mom schedule that works for you?
When I first became a stay at home mom, I must admit that I didn’t think we needed a schedule. I was thrilled about our new freedom to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted.
Our days had been so structured when I worked and I was excited for some spontaneity.
After a while, I realized that my toddler and I already had a routine and the days we veered from it often ended in meltdowns. I also felt like I wasn’t accomplishing as much as I wanted to each day.
Despite thinking I should have so much time during the day, my to-do list kept growing longer and I never seemed to tackle most of it. At the end of the day I’d look back and wonder where the time had gone. I always felt busy, but didn’t get much done.
It turns out that have a solid schedule made a happier toddler and more organized stay at home mom.
This wasn’t actually the only misconception I’d had about becoming a stay at home mom. I wrote a whole post about the myths that I used to believe when I worked.
After my second son was born it became even more important to stick to a daily schedule with a toddler and infant.
Our schedule has changed a lot since I first became a stay at home mom and I’m sure it will continue to make adjustments as my kids get older. Having a framework for our schedule in place makes it pretty easy to alter as needed.
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How to Make Your Own Stay at Home Mom Schedule
If you look back at your days, you may notice a pattern already and that’s a great start.
To keep yourself and your kids on a schedule it helps to actually write it down.
It may seem like you can just keep track of it all in your head, but this is a good way to NOT stick to a schedule. Seriously, we already have so much to remember, cut yourself a break and put it on paper.
Also, I find it really helpful to have both and daily and weekly schedule.
Not everything is the same day to day and I want to account for that in my schedule instead of being surprised every week when I remember that Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoons everything is messed up. I’d rather make a plan for these disruptions in my weekly schedule.
Ready to get more organized with a great schedule?
Start with Sleep
The easiest way to schedule your day is to start with the necessities, food and sleep.
I found it easiest to start with the beginning of the day, so wake up time.
What time do you want to start the day? What time do your kids wake up?
Lots of moms suggest getting up before your kids.
I did this for a while with my first and it was pretty great to have a little down time to get going for the day, BUT it doesn’t work for me right now. My youngest keeps waking up earlier and earlier and I’m done trying to beat him up in the morning.
Do what works for you!
To get toddlers to wake up at a certain time, there are light up alarm clocks! When my older son was 2 we got the OK to Wake! clock and it was a total game changer.
The first few days, I set the clock to go off about when he had been waking up already and made a big deal of coming in when it turned green. Once he understood, I pushed the alarm back to a more acceptable wake up time.
Sleep is essential for all of us. Getting enough sleep puts us all in a better mood, so make sure you account for naps and bedtime on your schedule.
Some things to consider: How many naps do they take and how long do they stay awake in between? When is bedtime? Is that the time you get them ready or want them to be asleep?
Don’t forget to schedule a bedtime for yourself.
If you’re a night owl like myself, it’s so easy to stay up way too late especially since that child-free time is so valuable.
Give mom a bedtime and stick to it just like you do for your little ones.
Meals and Snacks
Unless you enjoy hangry kids, meals also need to be a priority.
We do 3 meals and 2 snacks (morning and afternoon). Maybe your meal schedule looks different, like an after dinner snack. Maybe you’re feeding a baby every 3 hours.
Just make sure it works for your family and meets their needs.
With just meals and sleep, you should have a basic structure for your schedule.
Pro Mom Tip: Keep in mind that if you have a newborn, your schedule may not really be that structured. They often eat and sleep whenever they want for the first few weeks at least. For me it was easiest to have a schedule based on feeding intervals instead of specific times.
READ Toddler Snacks Exposed: When Should Moms Say No?
Add Fixed Appointments
This won’t apply to everyone, but add in any regular appointments to your schedule.
What do I mean by appointments? Well, anything that you have on a fixed schedule.
These could be actual medical appointments, but more likely it’s things like school pick up and drop off, ‘Mommy and Me’ classes, soccer practice, story time, or literally anything that you do at the same time on a recurring basis.
Here is where it helps to have a weekly schedule since you probably don’t have these types of things every day.
You can clearly see if you already have conflicts with your sleep/meals schedule and your appointments. This gives you the chance to try to reschedule or figure out the best way to adjust that day’s schedule.
Plan Your Time, but Keep it Flexible
Now that your schedule contains everything that you must do, it’s easy to see where there is open time to fill.
What do you want to do during the times between meals and naps?
I would have all sorts of ideas of fun things to do with my toddler, but too often we wouldn’t do any of them. We’d get caught up with other stuff and never get around to the crafts and activities I had wanted.
I also try to do as much of the cleaning and not-so-fun household tasks as I can with my kids. This way I don’t have to spend all of naptime doing them.
Then there’s also making sure to schedule time for outside play, independent play, and errands.
For a few weeks, I tried a super structured schedule, but I just could not stick to it and ended up feeling defeated.
Instead, I make a flexible schedule for our free time. I think of it more like suggestions. After morning snack is a good time to get outside and play or run errands. After nap is when we try to do some sort of activity together.
These aren’t set in stone and they change as needed, but they give us some structure to our day.
Keep this time flexible!
First, don’t worry about being too specific with this free time.
Second, don’t overschedule yourself. Allow for some actual downtime.
Finally, little kids can be very unpredictable, so some days just won’t go as planned.
Make the Most of Naptime
Ah naptime, the best time of day!
Breathe a sigh of relief, the kids are sleeping. You finally have a few minutes to collect your thoughts and do all of the things that are nearly impossible to do while your kids are awake.
This is your me time, but it might also be the best time to scrub the toilets and meal prep.
I’ve used naps for everything from working out, wiping the baseboards, blogging, binging Netflix, and even napping myself.
Too often I would sit down with the intention of taking just a minute, only to realize I wasted nap time scrolling Facebook. Meanwhile all of the things that I needed to do had to get squeezed in at some later point and the stuff I wanted to do just never happened.
Don’t let naptime slip away! Make a plan for how you’ll spend that time.
Start by prioritizing. I make a list of what I need to do and what I want to do.
Here it also helps me to look at a weekly schedule. I may have several tasks that need to be done, but not all necessarily on Monday and I can spread them over the week. Using a weekly schedule I can also see if the end of the week is extra busy and I need to get those tasks done immediately.
Ideally, I try to make sure that I complete something that I must do and something that I want to do during naptime.
When the kiddos wake up, I feel accomplished and hopefully like I got a bit of a break too.
Example of a Stay At Home Mom Schedule for a Toddler
Here is the schedule that worked for my toddler and I for about a year (until baby #2 arrived).
A few notes to point out, since my husband works crazy hours, I set up my schedule so that I can manage when he’s not home. I also don’t give a ton of time for cooking, it’s not something I like and I meal plan to avoid it as much as possible.
7:00 Wake up, make coffee
7:30 Toddler wake up
7:45 Breakfast (usually cereal or oatmeal so easy and low prep)
8:00 Toddler independent play while I clean the kitchen
Household chores/cleaning that we can do together (like sweep, dust, put away laundry)
9:30 Snack time
Get out of the house! This is our sweet spot for going out to the store or playground.
11:30 Lunch time
12:30 Naptime (~2 hours) I put in a load of laundry then usually clean or blog.
Toddler independent play when wake up
3:00 Snack time
Activity/craft – sometimes we do it together, sometimes it’s coloring books and stickers
5:00 I make dinner, toddler gets to watch TV
Clean up kitchen,
Play together then clean up toys
7:00 Bedtime (this is when we start our bedtime routine, usually he is asleep by 8 pm)
Having a solid schedule is one of the strategies I use to be a happy stay at home mom. It definitely helps to give our day some structure, read the rest of my tips here.
Do you have a stay at home mom schedule? What routine works for your family? Share your tips and experience in the comments!
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I’d be interested to know if you write it down each week in a notebook or how you have your schedule visualized
So we just sort of fell into our natural routine for the most part and I it wasn’t until I was writing down my toddler’s snack, lunch, nap schedule for a babysitter that I realized just how much we relied on the schedule. I don’t keep a written daily schedule, but we definitely still stick to one now with 3 kids.
I do keep a written planner to stay organized, but that’s more for the weekly, monthly type activities. So I do write down things like story time, appointments, practices/lessons each week. I also use my phone calendar, but I visualize and plan better when I can see we week and month written out.